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Jackson County was created by the Florida Territorial
Council in 1822 out of Escambia County, along with Duval County
out of St. Johns County, making them the third and fourth counties
in the Territory. The county was named for Andrew Jackson, who
had served as Florida's first military governor for six months
in 1821. Jackson County originally extended from the Choctawhatchee
River on the west to the Suwannee River on the east. The county
had been reduced close to its present boundaries by 1840 through
the creation of new counties from its original territory. Minor
adjustments to the county boundaries continued through most of
the 19th century, however.
There were no towns in Jackson County when it was formed. The
first county court met at what was called "Robinson's Big
Spring" (later called Blue Springs) in 1822 and then at the
"Big Spring of the Choctawhatchee" in 1823. The following
year the county court met at "Chipola Settlement" which
is also known as Waddell's Mill Pond.
Marianna became the county seat, but not without controversy.
It was founded by Robert Beveridge, a native of Scotland, in September
1827. The first town established in Jackson County was Webbville
in January 1827. Webbville, a community of land squatters, was
located nine miles northwest of present day Marianna and was designated
as the county seat. Webbville thrived until 1828 when Beveridge
and other Marianna settlers went to Tallahassee and enticed the
Florida Legislature with free land, construction of a courthouse,
a public square and $500 to purchase a quarter section of land
to be sold at public auction as a way to finance the new government,
if the county seat was moved to Marianna.
Beveridge and his supporters succeeded and Marianna became the
county seat of the county justice and civil authority, even though
it was never officially proclaimed the county seat. Marianna began
to grow and prosper when the county government moved into the
new courthouse in 1829. Webbville's prominent citizens moved to
Marianna and the L&N Railroad decided to bypass the town.
Webbville does not exist today.
From 1869-71, Jackson County was the center of a low-level guerrilla
war known as the Jackson County War. Members of the Ku Klux Klan
consisting of Confederate Army veterans assassinated over 150
Republican Party officials and prominent African-Americans as
part of a successful campaign to retain conservative white Democratic
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Updated September 2014, obituaries,newspaper data, history, and marriages. (tfr)